When you want to take someone to court, but the dollar amount isn't very high, generally $5,000 and under, but it varies by state, Small Claims Court is the place for you. While you usually won't have a lawyer helping you, it may be wise to consult with one.
The purpose of small claims court is to hear disputes involving relatively small amounts of money—for example, if you want to get your landlord to return your security deposit, or an auto repair shop to give you a refund for shoddy work. Unlike some states, Virginia does not allow landlords to file eviction cases in small claims court.
Court procedures are simple, inexpensive, quick, and informal. Most people who appear in small claims court present their own case and don't have a lawyer.
Small claims court rules, including maximum amounts for which you can sue, vary by state. This article provides an overview of small claims cases in Virginia, from the perspective of the person filing the court case (the plaintiff).